Hanover Rotary Club donates to Maasai Girls Fund

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Paul Mantell and Avery Hart of the Maasai Girls Fund receiving a check from Jim Colavito, President of the Hanover Rotary Club. Photo by Ken Lemanowicz

HANOVER TOWNSHIP —On August 8, 2019 the Hanover Rotary Club presented a check for $1,000 dollars to The Maasai Girls Fund (MGF). Avery Hart and Paul Mantell founders of the Maasai Girls Fund recently talked to the Hanover Rotary Club about their organization. It is a 501 (c)3 public charity, and focuses on the village of En’gong Narok in Kenya.

En’gong Narok is a typical Maasai village with a population of about 450. It is a circular village surrounded by two wide rings of thorn bushes to keep out lions and hyenas. The huts are hand-made by the women. Because they have no electricity or running water, the women have to walk great distances to collect firewood, and find water. Families strive to send boys to school, but girls are traditionally forced to undergo female genital mutilation, and married off at an early age. The MGF started by sponsoring a few young girls education at a boarding school. Within a few years all young girls of school age wanted to be educated, and the village chief and elders have agreed to end female mutilation and end forced marriages. MGF is now sponsoring the education of all 29 girls of school age in the village.

The MGF has expanded their focus to include other problems the village has. Because of worsening drought conditions the single old hand pump was bringing up brackish water. So villagers had to resort to collecting drinking water from a swamp as the only nearby source of water. The MGF raised money to pay for installation of a 10,000 liter storage tank at the village, and for a pipe to be run several miles to a new well at a government clinic being constructed. The MGF has recently installed a few solar cookers to see if that can dramatically reduce the amount of time collecting firewood. They are installing some solar panels to supply limited electricity and lights to help keep wild animals away from their livestock at night.

The MGF has several more ideas they want to investigate. They are making plans to construct outhouses to improve sanitation in the village. They are also investigating the installation of a bee fence around the village. The bees will discourage elephants, who sometimes crash through the thorn fence, and also will give the women of the village a possible source of income through the sale of honey. More information about The Maasai Girls Fund and their activities and future plans is available by clicking here.

Rotary is an international service organization that brings together business and professional leaders, and community members who gain satisfaction from serving others and sharing the rewards of working together to achieve the goals of humanitarian and community service. They support service projects at the local, US, and international level.

The Hanover Rotary Club meets Thursday mornings at 7:30 a.m. at Bin 37 Public House, 178 East Hanover Avenue, Cedar Knolls.

More information about club activities and membership is available by clicking here.